In Arizona, outbreaks are reported and managed by local public health departments using a module in our electronic disease surveillance system, MEDSIS. Outbreak Module’s integration into MEDSIS allows users to easily link existing infectious disease cases to an outbreak and retrieve outbreak data for analysis.  The data collected in this module has replaced our paper-based outbreak summary form, so all reporting from local-to-state occurs electronically.

Outbreaks of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses like Salmonella or E. coli are also reported to CDC via the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). Until now, local health departments have been required to complete double data entry, reporting almost identical information in both Outbreak Module and in NORS. However, as of July 2016, ADHS has successfully piloted a method to upload data from MEDSIS to NORS, called NORSDirect. Now, double data entry is no longer required!

Many thanks to our Foodborne and Electronic Disease Surveillance teams for their hard work in implementing NORSDirect in Arizona and their efforts to provide more efficient public health support to our local partners.